Email letters, Oct. 17, 2011

Vote to continue the success. Vote YES on 5A and 5B.

The transition to a larvicide-based mosquito control program has been exciting as well as challenging, and we feel privileged to have served on this board.

During this time of transition, there have been no human cases of West Nile Virus in the district. We’re grateful to have played a role in supporting the health of our community.

In addition to controlling mosquitoes before they become adults, we trap the adults and sort out the Culex — the kind that may carry WNV — to isolate where problems could potentially occur. Because we are looking so intently, we have discovered pockets of WNV infected mosquitoes. And, because we are maintaining that data from year to year, we are starting to see patterns that will allow us to be more effective in the future.

North Fork Mosquito Abatement District (NFMAD) is using GPS to map mosquito-breeding sites. Mapping where larvae have been found in the past gives the crew an advantage. They already know where to treat, based on the information gathered by the crews from the previous years. The database is updated as new sites are discovered.

And, in an effort to bring transparency to our operations, much of this information is readily available on our website.

NFMAD has two issues on this fall’s ballot that would support the progress we have made in reducing mosquito numbers and reducing health risks while treating the environment with the respect it deserves.

Measure 5B asks you to allow NFMAD to “de-Bruce,” allowing NFMAD to come out from under the TABOR requirements. In a nutshell, TABOR ratchets revenues down during economic downturns, but limits the growth in revenues during good times. Under TABOR, the District’s finances can never catch up to provide services for our growing community. There will be no increase in taxes with 5B.

Measure 5A is a request for an increase in the mill levy. The increased revenues will bring seven new seasonal jobs to the North Fork Valley, and provide the support necessary to continue this program into the future.

Two employees will be full-time field crew, responsible for operations such as larviciding, mapping, and fogging, as needed. Additional provisions will be necessary to support the new crew, including GPS units, backpack sprayers, larvicide, safety equipment, and training. NFMAD will also put aside funding to replace our aging fleet of vehicles.

Five part-time jobs are slated for technicians who do mosquito trapping, identification and WNV sampling. The Colorado Department of Health depends upon us to identify the Culex and send them to the lab for WNV testing.

The information gathered by these dedicated individuals sets the foundation for much of the day-to-day decision-making. For example, when the numbers of adult mosquitoes in a trap spikes, the field crew targets the area around that trap to locate unidentified breeding sites. This approach has been remarkably successful.

For the last three years, our trapping and identification programs have been run by committed volunteers. It’s time we make these paid positions.

Finally, some current irrigation practices account for a majority of the District’s mosquito breeding sites. Eliminating breeding sites may be an expensive proposition initially, but the long-term rewards are very cost-effective.

In summary, an increased mil levy will allow NFMAD to increase the number of field personnel, pay for the trapping and counting currently done by volunteers, purchase additional supplies and equipment, accumulate reserves toward the replacement of vehicles and other capital improvements, and assist in the effort to physically reduce breeding sites throughout the District.

Your “Yes” vote on 5A and 5B will make this possible.

KEVIN PARKS, President
TARA BUDINGER, Secretary
KRIS KROPP, Treasurer
ROSEMARY BILCHAK
CATHERINE GOCKLEY

Haven’t veterans already paid enough?

At first, I was very pleased to see The Daily Sentinel’s notice about honoring veterans on page 5A of the Oct. 14 edition of the Sentinel. I have lived in other communities where similar tributes were done. The difference is that their papers published the “Salute to Honor” for free, whereas you are charging a fee of $30. Haven’t they paid enough already?

DEA BRIDGE
Grand Junction

School district needs more common sense

After much thought about Proposition 103 and Referred Measure3A, I voted against the measures. I have a great concern if 103 passes and 3A passes, School Districk 51 will flounder on its new found cash cow.

It seems to me the fair way would be a sales tax in each school district, that way, all pay their fair share. There are far too many people in this valley holding on to their houses by a thread and it wouldn’t take much more than the proposed increase to push them over the edge, not to mention the senior’s who are fighting the same battle with no where to go for relief.

Many dollars could be saved if the school district would just build school buildings that fell into the three Fs — form, fit and function —instead of the style they now build. Whatever happened to common sense? Where has the pride gone of getting it done yourself, instead of the present day you owe me with hands outstretched.

I urge voters to vote against the present bill’s and look for a more fair and balanced way to help the school district.

ROBERT BROWN
Clifton

Occupiers have nothing to lose

The Oct. 14 editorial"Protests are ‘occupied’ by publicity seekers” states: “It will take people committed enough to develop serious policy proposals, to run for office or to work for candidates to accomplish anything tangible.” People, listen up. The Tea Party people have something to lose. They have assets. They most likely have jobs and an income. They can afford the means to try to protect what they have and they do have the sense to suck up to the people that can afford everything. The occupiers have nothing to lose. Most have nothing, lost what they had and nobody (who is anybody with clout) cares about them.
I refer “The Daily Sentinel” dated Evening, April 29, 1914. The headline “Nine Killed In Forbes Battle” further “Desperate Battle Staged Around Tiny Mining Camp” further “Machine Gun used by Defenders of Mine Fails to Stop Horde of Strikers; Japanese Employees of Superintendent Fought Like Tigers; Women Hidden in Abandoned Mine Tunnel: Attack Without Warning Swept all Before it; Bloodiest Encounter Since Ludlow.”
“After a pitched battle of several hours the strikers disappeared in the hills.” The known dead include the great grandfather of my children. He was a carpenter that took a job with the mining company against the wishes of his wife because he needed work. His death certificate shows his death as a homicide. Killed also were two other named men and four unnamed Japanese men. Two men were wounded: a named Negro and an unnamed Japanese man.
The dead and wounded men working for the mining company had nothing to lose and the strikers had nothing to lose. Are we living this story again?
SHEILA JOHNSON
Grand Junction

Quality education is essential

I would ask all voters to come and sit in a classroom and witness the local struggles of education before casting a vote for 3B.

Come and sit in a high school classroom of 35 high school students that was designed for 30 and ask yourself where five more students could fit.

Come and observe in an elementary school classroom in which struggling readers who used to be able to practice reading one-on-on one with instructional assistants are now battling to keep up without this individualized support.

Come and help a counselor trying to build a schedule for student when there are hardly any spots available without bumping up class sizes anymore.

Come and grade a stack of 150 essays on a weekend with a teacher who is trying to help improve the writing of each individual student.

I am sure there are a multitude of such examples in which voters could come and truly witness the dramatic impact that budget cuts are having on local schools. Some people have expressed fears that any more cuts will devastate education, but this is already happening.

It may seem to go against logic for businesses to have to pay more during a recession, but the quality of education is often a major determining factor in attracting new business and people to a community. What are potential employers going to think if our kids end up in school only four days a week and test scores start showing a rapid decline because kids cannot get the individual attention they need? Most of these same business owners that say they will not support the bond would probably not be able to stay in business if they were taking as drastic of cuts and the school district already has already sustained.

The school district has also been lambasted for lack of efforts to address stagnant test scores. What few may realize is that all levels of core curriculum were rewritten and revamped last year in order help students meet new state and national standards that are more rigorous. Teachers are currently implementing research-based and collaborative solutions to help students at all levels. This is one example of the level of dedication and innovation that local teachers are implementing in order to try to help all kids grown and learn.

There is a reason this measure has support across the political spectrum. This is because informed people are realizing the importance of a good education and that this is being compromised more and more with every year of the recession.

Please take time to vote and vote “Yes” on 3B. This is not about padding the school district’s budget. It is about putting back and keeping the foundation of what all students need in order to learn.

TRENT WUSTER
Fruita

Not all metals in West End are rare

The Daily Sentinel article “Proposed reservoirs to provide for boom in metal-rich West End” ( Oct. 8) was misleading. The Sentinel seemed to confuse Montrose County’s West End with Colorado’s Western Slope, of which Jim Burnell of Colorado Geological Survey spoke.

The Sentinel predicted the West End might “become the epicenter of rare-earth mineral production in the United States within 50 years,” for its vanadium, selenium, zinc, iron, tellurium, gold, copper, silver and uranium. Not one of these is a rare-earth element. Of all, only significant mineable quantities of vanadium and uranium are found in Montrose County. The others all occur in a different geologic setting in the San Juan Mountains.

The Sentinel suggested the elements listed are nine of the rarest metals found on Earth. Iron is the fourth most abundant element in Earth’s crust, and the most abundant for the entire Earth. Only Tellurium and gold are among the nine rarest in Earth’s crust. The Sentinel omitted Jim Burnell’s mention of gallium, germanium and indium, also found in the silver-lead-zinc ores of the San Juan Mountains, all neither rare-earth nor among the nine rarest metals.

Isn’t anticipating Montrose County’s Western End benefiting from future mining of anything but uranium and vanadium the same as putting the cart before the horse? Would Telluride welcome reopening the mines? If some of the water is for those mines, taking reservoir sites might be a bit hasty.

If the water is wanted only for mining uranium and vanadium, then that should be made clear.  I sincerely hope that the people deciding about future reservoirs and land-taking in western Montrose County have good information. Such decisions should not be lightly made, and should not be based on unrealistic anticipation and misinformation.

FELICIE WILLIAMS
Geologist
Grand Junction

Protest is about giving power back to the people

Letter writer Dave Kearsley’s utilization of the example of Steve Jobs in his derision of those who are currently rallying for the cause of our economic and political system needing overhauling is way off the mark. Occupy Wall Street is all about the utilization of money in dramatically distorting the balance between the haves and have-nots in our country. Wall Street is synonymous with money.
We are a nation based on representative democracy and the capitalist market system. Neither is perfect. The founding fathers recognized that a pure democracy could easily see a tyranny of the majority therefore the Bill of Rights were designed to protect the rights of the minority.

The capitalist system is the best way to determine prices and balanced production output through competition. But it is supposedly based on the fact that it will result in the fairest balance of prices, supply and demand and availability of goods and services for the population. The problem in that is it is based on a model that never happens in the real world. It is a winner-take-all system and the accumulation of money by the most successful gives them a competitive advantage over the less successful, whether they be competitors or consumers. Money is power.
A corporation, to be the most competitive, should use every legal avenue possible. Our system of elections allows money to influence those who we elect to the detriment of those who elect them. Occupy Wall Street is about taking money out of our elections and giving power back to the electorate. The balance in income we once had has now resulted in just a few at the top of the pyramid gaining unhealthy power and badly damaging our middle class, the engine of the success of our country in the past.
JOHN BORGEN
Grand Junction

People are fed up with economic inequality

I was so appalled by the editorial “Protests are ‘occupied’ by publicity seekers” that I first blogged about it and then attended the Occupy Grand Junction event.

The editorial was full of right wing talking points, many of which have been debunked. One example of a false assertion is that the protestors are being paid by billionaire George Soros. They aren’t, but the Koch Brothers, through Americans for Prosperity, did pay for Grand Junction Tea Party events, even going so far as to bus in people to protest the Democratic Party’s Spring Fling in April of 2010.

The people I saw yesterday were a cross section of American citizens, who are fed up with growing economic inequality. All had the opportunity to speak into a bullhorn about the motivation to attend.
A young high school student said he came because he was learning about freedom of speech in an American History class. A World War II veteran came because he wanted the American dream to be alive for his great-grand-children. A teacher came because she was concerned about providing an adequate education to our kids. A grandfather, who manages restaurants, came because of concern for grandkids without job opportunities. A counselor in a mental health clinic came because budget cuts are hurting the people in her care. A homeless man with mental illness came because he thought the power of love was more important than the love of power. A community organizer came to remind people that democracy works for people when they organize and stand up together to demand change.

These people are standing together, in the shadow of Gandhi and King. They occupy the public square to highlight the unfairness of our financial and political systems. They plan to be there until people seriously start talking about solutions.

CLAUDETTE KONOLA
Grand Juncion

Protesters are targeting wrong people

The Occupy Wall Street people are targeting the wrong group. They should be occupying the Democrats in Congress like Chris Dodd (now retired), Barney Frank, Maxine Waters and the like who forced lenders to give bad loans to buyers to further their social agenda. They are the ones who have caused most of the problems, not Wall Street and banks. These people need a big dose of reality and see that businesses, corporations and Wall Street are the ones that provide jobs not the government.

RICHARD BLOSSER
Grand Junction

Prohibition should be a warning regarding dispensaries

Reading the article “Last dispensary may be gone” on the front page of the Oct. 16 edition of The Daily Sentinel, I immediately thought of the outstanding program on PBS, “Prohibition.” It was a well-documented three part series by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick about the beginning and end of prohibition in the United States.

The Eighteenth Amendment passed by Congress on January 16, 1919 followed by the Volstead Act October 28, 1919 banning the sale of alcoholic beverages in the United States completely changed our country in many ways.

The Eighteenth Amendment turned ordinary law-abiding citizens into criminals. It created a governing body of hypocrites, destroyed jobs for millions of people by shutting down breweries and grape orchards, creating a first step towards the Great Depression. It was the beginning of organized crime in our country and made petty thieves into millionaires.

After 14 years of prohibition, on December 5, 1933, the ratification of the Twenty-first Amendment repealed the Eighteenth Amendment, thus ending one of the ugliest eras in America’s history.

How did this happen? How could a country who’s love of alcohol, from having a beer after work, to using alcohol in religious ceremonies, and enjoying cocktails with a fine meal; allow a minority of “we are here to save you” zealots ever get this proposal on a ballot, much less get it passed by Congress?

The majority of us quietly go along with our lives, not realizing the power that idealists and fanatics have. Before Prohibition, saloons ran rampant, and alcoholism was like a plague. The movement to rid our country of alcohol began in the Midwest supported by the American Temperance Society beginning in 1826, by 1835 their were 1.5 million members with women making up the majority. Their tireless energy and unwavering beliefs was able to win over the majority of those who regarded alcohol as simply an American way of life.

After the appeal (ironically led by women) of the Volstead Act, our government realized that Americans are going to consume alcohol regardless laws passed so why not use that to our advantage, and that’s how our current liquor laws governing the sale of alcohol came into being. We now have the tax revenue from the sale of alcohol, and businesses selling alcohol must be licensed and follow the Alcohol Control Board regulations; alcohol awareness is part of our culture. Alcoholism is still a problem for 10 percent of consumers, but that 10 percent shouldn’t have caused our country to penalize the other 90 percent.

The Alternative Health Care dispensary in Palisade, owned by Jesse and Desa Loughman sets the standard for a medical marijuana dispensary. They follow the law and then some by providing a safe environment and guaranteeing their customers are purchasing a safe product.

When any substance consumed is not monitored or regulated the results can be tragic, as the sale of unregulated alcohol was during prohibition. Unscrupulous back-alley distillers made alcohol using deadly chemicals that caused widespread blindness, and thousands of deaths.

The Alternative Health Care dispensary isn’t the back door or alley pot shop that sprang up overnight here in the valley and it’s a good they no longer exist. This is a reputable business serving their community with pride of knowing they are providing a service for a few who desperately need it.

Before Palisade voters go to the polls on Nov. 1, read with intelligence the actual facts on why Alternative Health Care will be an asset to their community and will provide a legitimate service to those who are in need. The pleas from a small group warning all of the perils ahead if you allow this legal business to remain in your community are strong and powerful. Just remember Prohibition and its ramifications.

Vote “No” on Referred Measure 2-B.

JUDITH CHAPIN
Fruita

Actions of some Democrats have lead to economic situation

Bill Grant appears taken in by the Occupy Wall Street movement in his recent column. The Daily Sentinel’s Oct. 14 editorial has it right: They are a doubtful mixture of a group. One New York City reporter walked through the group and named them the “Flea Party.”

The greed-and-graft impetus actually came out of the federal mortgage entities Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as it shared its profits through campaign contributions to achieve almost unlimited political power and eventually become a major player on Wall Street.

This is a synopsis of a new, must-read book by New York Times Business Columnist Gretchen Morgenson: “Reckless Endangerment.” Though this corruption was spread around all of political Washington, liberal Democrats such as Rep. Barney Frank (Mass) and (former) Sen. Chris Dodd (Conn) were in the lead with Clinton’s former budget director and Fannie CEO in 1999 Frank Raines so involved that he lost his CEO position and got a million dollar fine for accounting irregularities and excessive executive bonuses.

On the other hand, the leadership of the FDIC and CBO along with many conservative congressmen valiantly fought political pressure and stuck to warnings of a system failure but were overwhelmed by those touting home ownership for the poor. Look at it this way: if Wall Street was the banker the Fannie/Freddie slush machine, it’s like a Nevada brothel annexing a casino (Wall Street) to launder its money.

In a more personal way, I can see the angst of a collegian of 2008 voting in hope and now in 2011 with student loan and degree in hand and no job. The president and his supporters should take ownership of this movement of despair. They should notice his new jobs bill contains an infrastructure-bank idea the originator called the Fannie Mae of construction. I see a cruel irony in all of this. I hope Bill sees it too.

ROLAND REYNOLDS
Grand Junction

School District pleas are hard to believe

School District 51 tells us they have cut $28 million over the last two years, but now they need $12.5 million of that returned. They also tell us that if we don’t vote “Yes” on 3B, our children will be under-educated, second-rate citizens.
Then they tell us, that after six years, they will no longer need the $75 million that they want to take from us.
I don’t know about the rest of my fellow, property tax paying, neighbors, but I quit believing in the tooth fairy and the Easter rabbit a long time ago and now I should believe District 51?
Vote “No” on 3B.
TIM PARTSCH
Grand Junction

Protest fat cats in Congress

Someone should inform the occupiers that the largest gathering of greedy, rich people occurs everyday that Congress is in session.

They all are above the president’s threshold of $250,000 per year in income for determining who is rich and the net worth of this group is certainly in the billions. Perhaps instead of occupying and disrupting all the many cities, they should just go to Washington D.C. where they can protest the most fat cats at one time.

L.W. HUNLEY
Grand Junction



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